Report and pics from 2017’s last major motor show
Motor shows tend to have a theme. Frankfurt 2017 was all about long-term electric plans. Detroit 2017 had a mystery feel about it as we waited to see what effect Donald Trump’s appointment would have on the US car industry.
The 2017 Los Angeles show is different again in its curious absence of new car launches. The Honda stand was typical in highlighting a car that we’d already seen earlier in the year, the new CR-V. Still no sign of the European version – that’s expected to be at Geneva in March.
There were a few new cars, but many were reveals to the general public rather than genuinely never-seen-before cars. That’s because many carmakers are choosing to broadcast accurate new car images before show debuts, for example, Porsche with its Boxster GTS, Cayman GTS and Carrera T, and Jeep with its new Wrangler.
One all-new US-focused launch was for Subaru’s giant-Forester-alike Ascent SUV (not coming to the UK). Lexus showed its RX-L, a three-row RX with only six cup holders. The Ascent has 19.
Infiniti’s variable compression turbo engined QX50 generated some interest. It should help lift UK Infiniti sales when it goes on sale in late 2018. Mazda will be hoping for a similar boost from its updated Mazda 6, also on sale in late ’18. The exterior updates are low-key to say the least, but below-the-skin engineering changes to the chassis settings are designed to enhance handling and comfort.
Jaguar Land Rover’s presence at LA is very important as the US market is huge for them. Their stand featured a revised Range Rover as well as an I-Pace and an I-Pace racer, the idea being to keep the electric SUV in the public eye ahead of its 2018 showroom arrival.
American shows always include more than a few eye-popping exhibits. In the hip-hop blare of the Customs hall was an amazing 1923 Ford Model T and a bright yellow Galpin-modded new-model Aston Martin Vantage. Pickups were everywhere of course, notable examples being Toyota’s kayak-toter and GMC’s tracked All Mountain Concept.
Show highlights? We’d say there were three. Mercedes-Benz launched its CLS at LA because it was the timeliest show to do that and also because it’s seen as a “designer’s car”, thus fitting the company’s history of non-mainstream launches at Los Angeles.
BMW’s i8 Roadster is probably the ultimate California car. One, it’s electric, and two, it’s a convertible. It’s like a British summer in LA just now, and was approaching 100 degrees F in mid-November.
Last, but not least, there’s Chris Bangle’s Redspace. Set to be built by Chinese firm CHTC, this premium city vehicle is targeting the burgeoning Chinese millennial market. Bangle thinks production will have started by 2020, and foresees no major changes to the unique styling.
The next big show is Detroit in January. Expected to appear there are the new Mercedes G-Class, their petrol-hybrid CLS53, an Infiniti electric car, and a new Volkswagen Jetta – so already more new metal than LA…